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CX Babble from Norcal and Beyond
Editor Keith Defiebre / Title images © Abbiorca.com / Also visit NCNCA Feed Zone
posted by Dave Carr at 10:21 PM
Tire pressure is a tricky thing. I found the more I can trust my tires and glue job, the lower I can run my pressure, the faster I can corner. I will race on 2 different tires. First and used most of the time is Tufo Elite 32 tubular tires. Second is Michelin Mud 2 clincher tires. For thr Tufos, in dry hard conditions(Nor Cal) I tend to have them a bit higher to endure all the abuse from gravel and many surface changes. The front will be between 30-34 psi, the rear will be 32-36 psi. In clean, soft damp conditions(NW, East Coast) I will lower the pressire quite a bit. I the front I will go 22-28 psi in the front, the rear will be 26-30 psi. I found these pressures on the average are lower than most of the guys I race with that are the same size as me(145-150 lbs.)As far as clinchers go, the only time I will use them are in the most muddy conditions(nats the last 2 yrs.) For those I will run them hard for 2 reasons. First, I don't want to pinch flat. Second, The tires seem to bite better in sloppy mud when around 50-55 lbs. I hope this helps as often people are squeezing MY tires on the line to find out what's in them. Rich Maile
that's not what I'll be squeezing at the line next time.thanks dark cross god for the tips.now, i'm totally going to spank you.mhernandez
This year I've made the step up to the Dugast tires. I have them on a few different wheelsets in size 30 and 32. I've also got a digital pressure gauge that has really made a great difference in setting consistent pressure on both bikes. I'm 135-140 lbs and I find that the 32 dugasts pretty much stop working at above 30 psi. I end up running them right around 28 psi on cornering intensive courses and tracks with a lot of bumpy grass, etc. Maybe a bit lower in the mud, but really never above 29 psi no matter how smooth it is. I ran the 30s at 28.5 psi front and rear on sunday and the smaller tire seemed to work really well in the loose bumpy corners. Dugast tires+ Vittoria Mastik glue is the key.
Rich is dead-on with his tire pressures. There has been a lot of talk about how there are so many more tire choices now with the newer clinchers; that the tubular treads are so outdated, etc... But the most important point when it comes to racing tires is the pressure. You get the bigger footprint, and superior absorbtion of the course contours(especially in the corners) if you can run lower pressures. For instance, I am running pressures on par with Rich's AND I weigh 25 lbs. more! When you hear Jesse Scatton say how Rich just "velcroed" the last few corners of the districts race course to take the win, you can see three superior reasons why- superior skill, fantastic fitness, and the correct tire pressure. Famed Santa Cruz cross star, and former cross worlds team member Darryl Price offered this suggestion to me years ago, "run the absolute lowest tire pressure that you can get away with on any given course."
Also good point Rich about trusting your glue job. Running low pressure while riding a high-speed corner on pavement is roughly equivalent to letting the air out of your tires and trying to pull the tires off the rim. I am not very anal about bike maintenance in general, but the one exception that I am very meticulous when it comes to gluing tires.I would also agree with Howie on the "lowest psi possible" comment except for the occasional course with a lot of pavement and fairly tacky corners - I will pump up another 5-10psi for a little more speed and suppleness on the pavement.I always do a "hot lap" during warm-up for a race, not just to prime the cardiovascular system, but to check that my tire pressure is correct for all sections of a given course.
on the subject of tires and cornering... i remember a race in watsonville back in '99 or so when i was following daryl price around the course. he was going so fast around the corners and everywhere else for that matter. i noticed the hugeness of his tubular tires and i was bewildered at the apparent dichotomy between the massive tire width and incredible speed he maintained throughout the race. how could a dude ride such fat tires and go so fast? i'm one of those people who learns the slow way, through repetitive ass-kickin's. so not only was daryl coming out of retirement to race cx for fun he was faster than i was AND he had time to coach me during the race. he was literally coaching during the race on how to corner fast. at the time i was like "shut up you arrogant bastard and let me race my bike" but now that i'm old and mature i can look back and appreciate it. so the moral of the story is ride big soft tires and distract your competition by talking to them during the entire race. --J. Morgan
thanks for the tips man, you’re the best, i really enjoy reading your blog…so many great stuff…Tires For Sale
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